The junior year is critical to cross-country runners. Juniors can count the heads of seniors in front of them and know with near certainty who will be top dog the next season.
Amos Bartelsmeyer, 17, star of the squad at MICDS sits in that cat bird perch. He’s won two major cross-country meets this fall and is favored in others. That’s quite an accomplishment from this lanky, 5-foot-11, 145-pounder.
One year ago, he was playing soccer for the Rams. He broke his wrist, and decided he was going back to the sport he liked best in grade school at Oak Hill and middle school at MICDS.
Bartlesmeyer considers himself more a middle-distance runner than the marathon prototype.
Last year, he ran the mile in 4:17.11 at the state track meet in Jefferson City and 4:16 at the Festival of Miles race over the summer.
“That was a street event so that’s more like a 4:14 or 4:13 time,” said the earnest junior.
He loves to run long distances.
“It’s more fun than an obligation,” he said.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His dad, Fred, an international mergers and acquisitions attorney for the Bryan Cave law firm downtown was a runner of sorts in college, too.
This fall, Bartlesmeyer broke the tape at the Jefferson Barracks Invitational to start the season in 17:31 and won the Paul Enke Invitational at Sioux Passage Park in Hazelwood in 17:06 and finished 14th in the 5K at the Big River Festival in Forest Park in 15:54.
“That’s a much flatter course, and there were great runners all over the place,” he said.
He captured first place at the Priory Invitational Saturday with a time of 17:17:80. He's got the 10th fastest time this year for all runners in the bi-state area.
Finishing first often sets a nice example for the distance runners at MICDS, male and female.
“We have a great coach (Chris Rappley), and he prepares us well. The girls are doing well, and they have a strong freshman runner. We don’t get a whole lot of headlines or attention. Football is where all the attention is these days,” he said.
Bartlesmeyer does well inside school as well.
“I like it here. With the breezeway and variety of buildings, MICDS has more of a collegiate feel," he said.
“We have great teachers here who help us to learn and to be successful. Most our teachers really have a passion for what they do in the classroom and on the athletic fields too,” he said.
He maintains a 3.5 GPA, concentrating in the humanities with a courseload of subjects such as Spanish, history, political science and government. He plans on running college cross-country “hopefully at the Division I level.”
What Bartelsmeyer likes best about running is the social aspects of the sport.
“I’ve met an awful of great people in the running community,” he said.
He agreed the sport can be a head game or mind-bender of sorts but still loves it.
“I really don’t want the sport ever taken from my life. I’ll just see where running takes me in the future,” he said.